ITPalooza took another big step to reinforce South Florida’s reputation as a technology center, with 1,200 attendees and 85 sponsors at December’s annual gathering, which moved to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

Attendees were able to take one of 12 different educational tracks, says Tammy Kennedy, who is the 2017-18 president of the South Florida Technology Alliance, which supports the show. Some of the material, such as four packed sessions about agile project management, providing appeal that went beyond technology companies.

The student track helped young local talent realize they can stay in South Florida and find fulfilling work. “I don’t have to move to New York and I don’t have to move to Silicon Valley. I can stay here and have an amazing career,” Kennedy says of the resulting mindset.

“Content is king. We knocked it out of the park,” she adds. Moreover, “among the panelists and moderators, 98 percent were all here from our own backyard—all C-level executives. The fact that we had so many execs and great information and people getting together for ITPalooza was truly amazing.”

Altogether, it fit the alliance’s mission: “Learn, connect and grow.”

Among the high-profile speakers was Tom Conophy, executive vice president and chief technology officer at AutoNation, who discussed the importance of letting people be creative and forward-thinking. “He beats to his own drum,” Kennedy says.

Rick Sebaly, the alliance board member who managed the event, says Conophy shared a story about getting a job offer from a company that wanted him to cut his hair. “He said, ‘I had the offer at the company I want, but they want me to cut my hair. That’s not who I am, so I said no,’ ” Sebaly recounted.

CareCloud founder Albert Santalo also was inspirational, Kennedy says. Santalo offered real-life situations and talked about the hard work it took to achieve success. “People admire somebody like him because they want to be like him. It gives other startups in our community hope,” she says.

Read the complete SFBW article here:


The ITPalooza committee in front of toys donated by attendees for Toys for Tots: Kelly Boyle, Financial Advisor & Senior Vice President, Boyle Torres & Associates, Ameriprise Financial; Beth Ryan, Consultant, True Digital Security; Glen Benjamin, Social Media Chair, & Board Member of South Florida Technology Alliance; Allie Hernandez, Director of Marketing & Partner Development, 365 Data Centers; Lenny Chesal, Evangelist, Cybraics; Tammy Kennedy, President, South Florida Technology Alliance; John McLaughlin, Enterprise Architect, Nexenta Systems; Nicole Ciccone, Executive Director, South Florida Technology Alliance; Rick Sebaly, Senior Account Manager-Enterprise, Dell EMC & ITPalooza Committee Chair; Alex Funkhouser, CEO, Sherlock Talent; Steve Earle, Founder & CEO, E2Marketing; and Kristen Knauer, Client Success Manager, 365 Data Centers

About the SFTA

The South Florida Technology Alliance (SFTA) promotes the growth, success and awareness of the regional technology community. Through events, networking, programs and education, we provide south Florida’s technology-related companies, academic institutions, entrepreneurs, governments and related organizations with an active forum to grow the business of technology in our region.


Become an individual member, a company member or a sponsor of an SFTA event today!

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